Shelter crowding demands solution |

Shelter crowding demands solution

It’s time to help our shelter pets.

Timing is everything. Conversations have been focused on the topic of our current animal shelter and what happened to Rollie. I chose to stay out of the conversation for several reasons, but now, as the founder of the Carson Animal Services Initiative, I feel it’s important to speak.

Carson Animal Services Initiative (CASI) is a non-profit 501(c)3 that was established in September 2012 to help Carson City build a new animal shelter. Our current shelter was built in the early 1960s, when Carson City’s population numbered at 5,000 people. Carson City now has about 55,000 people, but the building that houses the animals remains the same. We have needed a new shelter for many years, but financially, it has been a difficult process. CASI is making a new shelter more feasible by raising money through community events, fundraisers and grants.

In addition to needing more space, updating the philosophy of sheltering animals is essential. CASI has attempted to build bridges with our current shelter staff through invitations to events and bimonthly meetings with shelter management. We have shared community worries that have come to our attention and offered ideas and suggestions. We will continue to do so with the new management. The hope is that through the combination of community activism and local government, we can build a shelter that offers essential services and gives animals a chance at being adopted. Considering the circumstances, I am confident our voices will be heard.

I know there has been a lot of finger-pointing directed toward shelter staff and city government, and with it comes a lot of confusion and anger. On the shelter’s part, there have been some terrible decisions made. And over the past year, I have heard a lot of people talk about how sad they feel for our shelter animals. I would ask everyone to channel your frustration and sadness toward the goal of helping our city and CASI change the current situation. We need to be honest: Not everyone at the shelter was a part of this catastrophe. That said, there is no room for a mistake like this to happen again. At this point, instead of expressing our anger via emails and letters to the editor, maybe we can start sharing solutions to this problem of needing a new building and not having the funds available to build it.

I also know that several years ago, Carson City had the unfortunate experience of having several people come in and talk about building a new shelter. Some members of the community donated — I was one of them — and now no one knows where the money or its affiliated organization went. Carson Animal Services Initiative is a recognized nonprofit registered with the secretary of state and the IRS. We meet the first and third Tuesday of each month at the BRIC Building, 108 E. Proctor, from 6-7:30 p.m. Please come to a meeting, or check out our website at I’m certain you will see that CASI is credible and committed to improving the way our community deals with stray and homeless animals.

I began this commentary focusing on time. For our animals in need, time is everything. Homeless animals need time to find the right home, and the chance to do so. For the people neck-deep in trying to find ways to fund a new animal shelter, time is precious, and we are sharing all we can to help our animals and our community solve this emotional and financial problem. For everyone out there who so passionately shared your views, your time and energy are needed to help create a shelter that our Capital City can be proud of.

Lisa Schuette is the chairwoman of Carson Animal Services Initiative.